« ForrigeFortsæt »
atgues conclusively will see that Mr. H. believes that God "produces " sin; yet it is conveyed under the more plausible terms, "every event." There seems to be a disposition, to gain proselytes to this doctrine, but a fear to present the more promine.It features of it, to the public. But as we have before remarked, truth needs no covering--the simple truth will bear its own weight. The more plain and artless she is, in her appearance, the more likely is she to win the hearts of the children of men.
Finally, adopting the language of Mr. A1. we say, we see not how God can be infinite in wisdom, power, and be nevolence, nor how the Bible can be truewe see not how men can be free, and have any encouragement to act ; and more than all, we see not how God can be true to the inter. ests of the universe, nor how any confidence can be placed in his government, if he has unalterably purposed or decreed the existence of every event ; but, if he has, then he de creed that Mr. H. should advocate this doctrine, and that I should oppose
Moral Government of God.
The Sixth section contains the views of our author upon this subject. By the qualifying term“ moral,” in this section, it is presumed we are to understand a different government, from the one treated of in the preceding section.and truly, it is widely different ; for here, it is the treating men as moral beings, giving them laws, and making them the subjects of rewards and punishments." While there,
it is an unalterable purpose or decree, by which every thought, word, and deed, whether good or bad, is fixed beyond the possibility of a change. It would not, however, require a very great stretch of thought to see, that, to suppose men are treated as moral beings, while their conduct is all fixed, involves a serious contradiction.
In answer to the first question, we have a concise and good account of the moral law. The second is the following: « What is the penalty of the law ?" As Mr. H. alternately uses the words penalty and curse, as meaning the same thing, I choose to use the word curse of the law : 1. because it is the term used by the inspired writers. 2. Because the word penalty is not used in scripture, (if I recollect,) at all.
The first attempt of Mr. H is to prove that “temporal death,” is no part of the curse of the law. It should here be premised that I do not contend that temporal death, spiritual death, or the evils of the present life, form the curse of the law separately; but we shall inquire whether these do not partake of that.curse, in their natures.
Nor do I con tend that these alone constitute the whole of that curseeternal death, without doubt, forms a part of it. The first argument by which he would establish his position, is drawn from Gal. 11. 13,-Rom. VIJr. 1. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law; there is therefore, now, no condemnation to them who are in christ Jesus.'
With regard to the first of these texts, we may observe, without doubt the apostle here refers to that branch of the general curse which is eternal death ; and in this sense not believers only, but all mankind in their seminal state of existence, are redeemed from the curse of the law, according to Rom. v. 18. “Therefore as by the offence of one Judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men, unto justification of life.” And this seems, indeed, to be the sense of the Apostle, as appears from the context, for it is there stated that Christ was made a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ. All this, however, does not prove, that temporal death is not another branch of the curse of the law. Again, viewed in relation to the law, the natural evils of the present life, and the death of our bodies, appear evidently to partake of the nature of the curse which God pronounced immediately after the fall; yet, viewed in relation to the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, it does appear that much of that which can be called a curse, is taken off ; for 1. As a fruit of that redemption wrought out by Christ, the natural evils of the present life are sancitified to the good of believers, and made to work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2. Natural death, through the same blessed medium, is made the passage of the believ. er from a world of sin, sorrow, and pain, to a world of holi. ness and eternal felicity. , 3. Through the same redemption is secured to all men, (and especially to believers,) a future resurrection from the dead. Hence, it would appear that in the passage under consideration, the Apostle had his eye upon that redemption which laid the foundation for all these blessings, and for a deliverance from eternal death.
With regard to the second passage brought by Mr. H. i. e. Rom. viii. 1, we would inquire, 1. Are not all men under the sentence of the law which says,
« Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return"? 2. Did not God himself pronounce that sentence ? Now if believers, as well as others are under this sentence, then the Apostle had no reference to this, in the above text, but to that condemnation which arises from personal and actual transgression. But the Apostle says, there is no condemnation, to them who are in Christ; and yet the above sentence lays upon them... These are facts which cannot be denied. Yet there is no difficulty here, for we are not condemned for being under this sentence, for as much as we were brought under it, not by our own sins, but by the first offence. " By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death pass. ed
upon all men for that all have sinned.” 2. e. All have sipped in him, as their representative, as the cause why death has passed upon all. This perfectly agrees with the experience of at least every christian. He does not feel condem. nation for being subject to natural death, and this blessing, also, is through the grand atonement.
The second argument of Mr. H, runs thus ; "If natural death be the penalty, salvation cannot be of grace. If the sinner in his own person, suffer all that the law demands, it is impossible to show wherein he can be saved by grace." p. 82.
That christians do suffer the evils of the present life, and natural death, are facts which none will deny ; and that they who endure to the end, are delivered from all by the redeem. ing power of Christ, is equally true. Now, the question is, are these deliverances of grace, or, by the merit of our own sufferings ? Should Mr. H. say of grace; I answer amen, Then although the christian suffers a part of the original curse, his salvation from all is of grace. Nor can he hope to come from the grave but by grace. As to the last branch of the argument, it is atterly foreign to the subject, except to those who contend that natural death is all the curse of the law; for the question (with us,) is not whether if the sinner suffer all the curse of the law, salvation can be of grace ; for if he suffer all that the law demands, there can be no salvation at all; for eternal death is a part of that curse.
But the question is, whether the believer though finally saved from all, by grace, does not, on his way, experience in this world, and at death, what constitutes a part of the curse of the law.
The principle argument by which Mr. H. would prove, that the evils of the present life form no part of the curse of the law, is the following :-“ If these things are the curse of the law, then the afflictions and self-reproaches which men experience in the present life, must be exactly in proportion to their sin." This argument, also, proceeds upon the supposition that the evils of the present world, form the whole of the curse, which is not contended by us.
But suppose these to be a part of the curse, how does it appear
that we must suffer in exact proportion to our
sins, in this life May we not receive the rest in the retributions of another day? That many have felt in this life, a part of what their sins deserve, is too plain to be denied. The destruction of the old world, of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of thousands of the Israelites in the wilderness, are points in proof of this fact. No man, in his senses, will deny but these things were sent upon them as a punishment for their sins; yet, no one will contend that what they suffered was all that was due to their sins.
Therefore, if Mr. H. thinks that such a notion would “mingle the scenes of probation and retribution together," yet he will find it in his Bible.
The next attempt of Mr H. is to show that spiritual death is no part of the curse of the law. Whether it be or be not a part of the curse of the law, Mr, H. has, in our opinion, laid down a false ground of argument. If this be the curse of the law,“ Christians are not entirely delivered from it; and the Apostle's assertion that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, &c. cannot be under stood.” Here Mr. H. seems unfortunately to have set up general experience as a rule of argument instead of the word